Drag on film has had an interesting history. The most mainstream examples like 'Tootise', 'Mrs Doubtfire', 'Hairspray' or even 'White Chicks' have very little to do with queer and drag queen culture. While there are outliers like 'The Birdcage', 'To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar', 'Kinky Boots' and 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert', drag films and the queer genre rarely intersect. Italian film 'Fairytale' uses the art of drag to tell a queer a story.
Mrs Fairytale (Filippo Timi) and her best friend Mrs Emerald (Lucia Mascino) meet every day to share their peaceful housewife lives, but as more and more secrets come out they begin to realise they might be living in a 50s paradise.
The production design of the film is so beautiful, executing that 50s interior design perfectly. It feels like a dollhouse and just enhances the film's quirky nature. The film plays a lot with continuity and the way it uses cuts, so things always feel slightly off. In terms of the titular character, we are never really sure if we are meant to know if it's drag or meant to believe she's more an Edna Turnblad situation. The film is also quite funny - the actors are going all out with this kind of crazy and whimsical material.
I've read some complaints about the film's ultimate ending, and how it's a positive one. Without spoiling, why can't queer stories end positively? Queer people are allowed to see themselves experience joy on film; it doesn't always have to end in tears. Film can be a 'Fairytale', and so many LGBTQ+ people - especially youth - see film and television as an outlet, and they deserve to see that things will get better and that they are accepted.
The production design of the film is so beautiful, executing that 50s interior design perfectly. It feels like a dollhouse and just enhances the film's quirky nature.
On the note of drag on film: a lot of the time are portrayed by straight men. 'Fairytale' thankfully breaks the mould. Thanks to the huge success of 'RuPaul's Drag Race', drag queens are being taken more seriously in a mainstream media, Bianca Del Rio has a film franchise with 'Hurricane Bianca', Netflix not only has an animated show 'Super Queens' but RuPaul started in 'AJ and the Queen', and even 'A Star Is Born' has authentic drag queen representation, which is more than overdue.
'Fairytale' is an unexpected delight for queer cinema - while on the surface it just seems like zany 50s housewives, beneath the lashes there's a lot more than meets the eye.